In his book The Business of Belief: How the World’s Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe, Tom Asacker makes this point:
Our minds crave consistency in our beliefs and behaviors. We want to appear logical, to ourselves and to others. And when faced with evidence which contradicts our beliefs, our minds work to eliminate the psychological discomfort.
This is crucial for pastors to get as they preach on a weekly basis.
Often, the truth that you are preaching will contradict what people sitting their know, believe or want to believe or know.
Here are 3 ways to do this:
- State the obvious. Talk about what is clear to everyone in the room. If something seems weird or unusual in the Bible, talk about it. Think about what the Christians believe: God created the world out of nothing, Noah built an ark and the world was covered in rain killing everyone but those in the ark, God speaks through a bush, God becomes human and is born an infant to a virgin, Jesus rose from the dead. That’s just a sampling, but things that seem crazy. When you get to something that seems hard to believe, talk about it. Andy Stanley says, “this gives you credibility with the unchurched.”
- Help them through the discomfort. Talk about the difficulty in believing things, what changes the gospel will bring to lives and how difficult change is. Everyone knows change is hard. This is why we hold on to baggage and hurt for so long, it is why people don’t stick with diets and workout programs. Because change hurts. It is uncomfortable. Talk about it, give ways out of it.
- Imagine the future. When you apply the bible in a sermon, don’t just talk about how to live it out. Talk about how life will and can be different when this truth is applied. Say something like, “Imagine what life can be like next week, next month if you live this out, if you believe this” and then explain it. Often, people struggle to apply the Bible because they can’t imagine how great life can be if they live it out, they only think in the loss column.